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Students will be given a questionnaire next week to rate my teaching - is this fair?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by cuwaig, Nov 16, 2011.

  1. I am an NQT in a state secondary school. All departments will have student questionnaires. Every teacher in the MFL department is also going to be surveyed with the idea that the feedback that is given will not be linked to their teacher but to the teaching in the department, as the results will all be mixed in together with teacher remaining anonymous and it will help the department improve as a whole.
    My issue is that Spanish and French students will be given separate ones, and as the only Spanish teacher, I will be easily identified. They are in effectrating my subject and my teaching.
    It's not that I have something to hide but I am against the idea of it. It shows a total lack of trust and I am surprised they are allowed to do that. It is no different from ratemyteachers.com.
    They rate the following by ticking 'strongly agree', 'agree', 'disagree' and 'strongly disagree:
    1.I am taught well in this subject.
    2. Students in my class behave well
    3. My teacher treats all pupils in my class with respect.
    4. The lessons seem well organised.
    Plus 8 others criterion.
    As an NQT, I'm not really sure of my rights and what's normal. Can anyboday advise if this is normal? Is this allowed? Is it worth contacting my NUT rep at the school?
    Thanks
     
  2. I am an NQT in a state secondary school. All departments will have student questionnaires. Every teacher in the MFL department is also going to be surveyed with the idea that the feedback that is given will not be linked to their teacher but to the teaching in the department, as the results will all be mixed in together with teacher remaining anonymous and it will help the department improve as a whole.
    My issue is that Spanish and French students will be given separate ones, and as the only Spanish teacher, I will be easily identified. They are in effectrating my subject and my teaching.
    It's not that I have something to hide but I am against the idea of it. It shows a total lack of trust and I am surprised they are allowed to do that. It is no different from ratemyteachers.com.
    They rate the following by ticking 'strongly agree', 'agree', 'disagree' and 'strongly disagree:
    1.I am taught well in this subject.
    2. Students in my class behave well
    3. My teacher treats all pupils in my class with respect.
    4. The lessons seem well organised.
    Plus 8 others criterion.
    As an NQT, I'm not really sure of my rights and what's normal. Can anyboday advise if this is normal? Is this allowed? Is it worth contacting my NUT rep at the school?
    Thanks
     

  3. Yep, it stinks. I fear this sort of thing has become 'normal' for the job (not a 'profession' any more). You could discuss it with your NUT rep. but you'll probably find that it's accepted. There's also the risk of being branded a trouble-maker. I'm afraid this is how it goes. If you're posting on this forum, you'll be aware of such things.
     
  4. you should do one of your own on the pupils.
     
  5. This happens twice a term at my school, the teachers are named, it isn't a "whole department" thing
     
  6. newposter

    newposter Occasional commenter

    This is why teaching is not a profession, and many of us are considered utter cretins by most normal people.
     
  7. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    I find the whole concept appalling. If the unions were doing anything, they should be tackling this.
    I look forward to questionnaires for patients on how well surgeons have done triple heart bypass operations.
     
  8. Crowbob

    Crowbob Lead commenter

    To me, there is nothing so very terrible about this in principle. Students are the ultimate end users, getting their opinion on the quality of teaching is (in my view) important.
    I would have concerns if the views of students were used in actually judging a teacher. So, if a HoD were to say "you are a bad teacher because the students say you are", that would be too much. Getting their views on the learning experience may be valuable. It will give an insight into their perception of teaching style etc.
    It happens every year in University.
     
  9. newposter

    newposter Occasional commenter

    Middlemarch the unions have spent most of their time moaning about pay, for years, while ignoring the many elephants happily galavanting around the room. Makes me want to scab.
     
  10. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    My view is that they sold the profession's collective soul over the WLA, which they trumpeted as if they'd awarded every one of us the crown jewels.
    You can't, however, find a teacher who thinks they're actually better off and more and more is being demanded each day, with pension rights the prime target for the current government, of course.
    I've no objection to asking students general questions about how they learn best, what types of teaching they feel help them most, etc (mainly because I see it as helpful to them to get them to consider such issues), but I do not and cannot sanction asking them about individual members of staff.
     
  11. newposter

    newposter Occasional commenter

    They certainly lack the forsight required of long term decision making - the deprofessionalisation of teaching was a direct result of Rarely Cover, and the WLA in general is not worth the paper it's written on.
    The amount of ambitious young idiots willing to break it, meeting at lunch time etc, in order to get ahead is a triumph or uninformed and selfish career mindedness over collective bargaining.
    I'm also not sure the unions were in touch with what we wanted when they 'won' WLA for us all either.
     
  12. Crowbob

    Crowbob Lead commenter

    I think my problem with generic questions is that it becomes very easy to distinguish yourself when trying to reflect on the answers (promotion of self-reflection being my main reason for supporting such activities). You very quickly say "well that doesn't apply to my teaching" or "of course I do that". Whereas, if you have students commenting on their experiences of a particular learning environment it is much more difficult to distinguish. You may not agree with what they say, but you cannot really argue that it wasn't their experience, or at least the perception of the experience. It also allows students to become reflective in a more concrete way. In reflection you should really start with concrete examples before moving to generalisations.
    Perhaps a system whereby students comment on individual teachers. They read the feedback, for reflection, then redact the personal information and pass to Faculty-level for more general reflection to happen.
    Meh, maybe I am just rambling this weekend. I do, it must be conceded, see the potential issues in individual comments.
     
  13. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    That is just what I said at the time!
    And that.
     
  14. If astute = lacking in professionalism. You give astute teachers too little credit. To me, an astute teacher would use it as a mechanism for reflection.

    As said, there is a risk of what you say happening, but there is also an opportunity for development and reflection (for both student and teacher).

    Tell me Crowbob, what areas of development would you identify if your feedback comments included things like 'treats us like children, sack CrowBob, he cannot teach, he is unprofessional' in the how the course could be improved section, even though these comments are absolutely unfounded, as observations show that you are a consistently good teacher and student pass rates and high grade percentages had improved considerably during your time in charge of a subject?

    To deny the fact that students abuse their 'voice' is naive on your part, in my opinion. Either that or it suggests to me that you're one of the managers who advocates the use of such surveys. I totally agree that we should ask students if they're happy with their learning, the lessons, their progress etc and whether they liked a lesson taught by a teacher applying for a job during an interview, but for the reasons stated by others in this thread, I'm very wary of students being asked to judge a teacher's competency and being given the opportunity to write such comments as part of such a crude method!
     
  15. PS. I don't know about secondary school, Cuwaig, as I was never asked to hand out these types of questionnaire when I worked in secondary schools. However, it is definitely not just allowed but also becoming very popular in FE colleges! My advice to you is to do what I didn't do last year:

    1. Make it clear to students what the purpose is and that NO comments like the ones I posted on here will be tolerated (i.e.. this is your chance to tell us what you think and give us any suggestions but only helpful ones will be tolerated. Things like my teacher is a c.o.w will not be tolerated).
    2. As CrowBob said, use what you can as suggestions for your CPD and ignore any comments like the ones I described earlier (do NOT allow them to upset you if you know that you're doing your best and that they're untrue).
    3. Seek advice if managers try to bully you over the type of comments previously described.

    If it's any consolation, only the actual scores went to the managers in my previous FE College. The comment sheets stayed with the HoD, so any unhelpful comments can be weeded out and ignored.

    Good luck!
     
  16. Crowbob

    Crowbob Lead commenter

    On the face of it, I wouldn't take anything from comments like that.
    I didn't say some students don't abuse their voice. However, I am not sure that that is sufficient justification for muting the voices of others, who may actually gain from their own reflections.
    Nope.
    If it is presented in this way, then I also disagree. I see it as the main stakeholders of a situation being given the chance to give their views on the learning experience, as they see it.
     
  17. Crowbob

    Crowbob Lead commenter

    and is already standard in HE.
     
  18. Indeed. I make sure i do regular mini questionnaires with my classes, written and anonymous, to give them the opportunity to feedback on my lessons. I actually don't care if they want things a bit different because we have a chat about the pros and cons of the things they suggest. In fairness, I've actually changed quite a few things about some of my lessons on the back of student feedback and my lessons are better for it. HOwever, this is a symptom of the good working relationship I have with my students rather than any bowing down to ridiculous pressure by management to change just for the sake of it!
    Sorry if that makes me sound hideously sanctamoneous - I'm really not like that!

     
  19. Thanks for that clarification, Crowbob. Apologies if I sounded hostile but your previous posts suggested otherwise (that surveys like this can be and are often abused) and having just left a college where managers were number crunchers while staff took the flak for when their latest 'schemes went wrong', I'm rather wary of stuff like this in general.
    You're quite right about HE too! I filled in lots of questionnaires like this when I was a degree student myself, although I would like to point out that degree students are generally more mature about filling in stuff like this and are therefore more likely to write constructive comments.
    Btw, you don't sound sanctimonious poemelectronique, I feel the same way as you do about what they SHOULD be used for. Unfortunately, not everyone does for reasons, such as those you correctly identified in your post.
     
  20. Crowbob

    Crowbob Lead commenter

    You were not hostile, msbrainy. I understand concerns. In my view they are caused by the design of the activity and the use that it is put to.
    You give them too much credit...As part of a Quality working group, I have often seen comments like "looks like a potato, I don't lilke potatoes" or "I don't like the lecturer's shoes. He should change them and then I would attend more".

     

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